Confirmed female boarders include 2012 Parklife Invitational snowboard winner Orla Doolin from Ireland, Jen Brown from the UK and local lass Christy Prior. International pro boarders Kiwis Nick Hyne and Nick Brown go head to head in the annual winter rail jam event.
Meanwhile returning freestyle motorcross champions Brenton Drager and Ryan Brown – some of the hottest FMX bikers in Australasia – are confirmed for a thrills-packed FMX demo guaranteed to get the crowd roaring.
Held in the Queenstown Rec grounds, the highly-anticipated event is featuring a ‘who’s who’ of boarders performing to the outer limits of their ability on a 32-stair handrail feature using snow trucked in from The Remarkables ski area.
The Remarkables ski area manager Ross Lawrence said it promised to be an “awesome” comp with categories for male and female skiers and boarders and up to $5000 in cash and other prizes up for grabs.
“These are big names on the international circuit who’ll be mixing it up right here on our doorstep,” he said.
“This is the most renowned rail comp in New Zealand and a ‘once a year’ opportunity for people to see all the action across three extreme sports disciplines in one night in a central location.
“It makes for great family entertainment which is why we’ll start early in the evening with Spike and Shred, who will make a rare trip down from the mountain to join in the fun.”
The Rail Jam starts with a qualifying round where each competitor laps the feature aiming to impress the judges enough to advance to the finals. Best males and females in both categories will ‘take it up another gear’ in their final runs in a bid to take home cash prizes and branded gear.
If the weather doesn’t come to the party there’s a ‘rain date’ for the following night.
Mr Lawrence said FMX riders Drager and Brown were amped to be back in Queenstown to entertain the crowds before and in-between snow freestyle heats.
“They’re so looking forward to showing off their talent for what’s shaping up to be a huge audience,” he said.
FMX manager Richard Stevenson, who organises Nitro Circus events, said it was one of the few occasions that people could watch the high-energy showmanship of FMX in their own backyard, especially in mid-winter.
"This is typically a summer sport because it’s so weather dependent, but this weekend we’re pulling out all the stops for these guys to wow the crowds,” he said.
“They’ll be executing some crazy tricks, flipping their 100kg dirt bikes 75 feet in the air, across snow and rails. It’s going to be pretty insane.”
Mr Stevenson said FMX was hugely popular in Europe and Australia with increasingly high levels of ‘daring’.
“Here in New Zealand it’s a relatively new sport that’s been experienced by relatively few people, and probably not at the level that these guys are bringing.”
Twenty-four-year-old Australian Brenton Drager won the renowned Precise Pro Open in 2012 and is one of Australia’s top riders making headlines internationally. His top trick is the Superflip Indy.
Fellow Australian 21-year old Ryan Brown is renowned for his switchblade flip, last year impressing audiences by completing a 110ft Flip at the Australian FMX Championships and pulling the Best Whip at the Australian & Underground FMX Championships.
A third FMX rider will be confirmed this week.The two-rail structure and FMX ramps will be assembled from Wednesday onwards by The Remarkables ski area Terrain Park crew and snow will be brought in first thing on Saturday to be prepped for the BIG event that evening.
Gates open 4.30pm and tickets are on sale from the Queenstown Snow Centre all this week. The event runs from 5.30pm to 9.30pm and tickets are $5.
Sponsor support includes Red Bull, Skinny Mobile, Corona, Jim Beam, The Find, St Goliath and Rip Curl Clothing.
An after party will be held at The Find bar at 54 Shotover Street.